Characterization and Transcriptional Response of Ecdysone Receptor Gene in the Mud Crab Macrophthalmus japonicus: Effects of Osmotic Stress and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

  • Kiyun Park
  • Won-Seok Kim
  • Ihn-Sil KwakEmail author


The ecdysone receptor (EcR) induces hormonal pathways by binding ecdysteroids to other nuclear receptors for development, reproduction, and molting processes. To further understand the role of EcR in polluted environments, we characterized EcR and assessed the transcriptional responses of the EcR gene to osmotic stress, and to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) such as bisphenol A (BPA) and di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in the intertidal mud crab Macrophthalmus japonicus. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the ligand binding domain of M. japonicus EcR formed two different clusters among crab species. Osmotic stress prompted different expression patterns of EcR mRNA in M. japonicus crabs under low and high salinities. BPA exposure induced significant up-regulation of EcR as early as day 1 in M. japonicus gills and hepatopancreas. However, the expression levels of EcR returned to similar, or lower, levels as controls, by days 4 and 7. In contrast, EcR mRNA expression was significantly induced in M. japonicus gills and hepatopancreas exposed to most of the DEHP concentrations over all exposure times. Hepatopancreatic tissue is more sensitive than gill tissue in terms of EcR gene responses to EDCs. Taken together, these results suggest that the role of EcR in endocrine protection may involve different processes according to the type of EDCs and up-regulatory responses of the EcR transcript could be used as an indicator for detecting changes in hormonal systems caused by environmental stressors.


ecdysone receptor (EcR) osmotic stress endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) gene expression crustaceans 


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This study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea, which is funded by the Korean Government [NRF-2018-R1A6A1A-03024314] and [NRF- 2019-R1I1A1A-01056855].


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Copyright information

© Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology (KIOST) and the Korean Society of Oceanography (KSO) and Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fisheries Science InstituteChonnam National UniversityYeosuSouth Korea
  2. 2.School of Marine TechnologyChonnam National UniversityYeosuSouth Korea

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